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AMERICAN SYMPHONY CHAMBER ORCHESTRA 2001-02 BARD-VASSAR CONCERT SERIES CONTINUES ON FEBRUARY 8 AND 9 Program features works by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari, Joan Tower, and Richard Strauss

Emily Darrow

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.-The American Symphony Chamber Orchestra (ASCO) Bard-Vassar 2001-02 concert series will continue on Friday, February 8, at Olin Hall, Bard College, and on Saturday, February 9, at Skinner Hall, Vassar College. Presented by The Bard Center, both concerts begin at 8:00 p.m. and include preconcert talks at 7:00 p.m. Admission is $15 ($10 for seniors and students with identification).

Conducted by American Symphony Orchestra music director Leon Botstein, the concert will feature bassoonist Charles McCracken, who will perform Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari's Suite-concertino in F Major, Op. 16. Composer and conductor Joan Tower will take the podium for a performance of her Piano Concerto (Homage to Beethoven), featuring pianist Bari Mort. The program will conclude with Richard Strauss's Metamorphosen, a study for 23 solo strings.

"I am delighted to have Joan Tower, my esteemed longtime colleague, as a guest?not only as a composer but as a conductor," says Botstein, artistic director of the ASCO. "It is wonderful that our principal bassoonist, Charles McCracken, is doing such an unusual work, and it is a rare opportunity to perform and to hear one of Strauss's greatest late works."

The final concerts of the series, on April 26 and 27, will feature Richard Wagner's "Siegfried Idyll"; Harold Farberman's "Concerto for Cathy," with oboist Robert Ingliss; and Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 ("Pastorale").

The concerts at Bard are made possible, in part, through the generosity of the Homeland Foundation and the Leon Levy Foundation at Bard College. For further information and reservations, call The Bard Center at 845-758-7425.

About the Artists:

The American Symphony Chamber Orchestra performs at Bard and Vassar Colleges under the auspices of the American Symphony Orchestra, formed in 1962 with the mission, stated by founder Leopold Stokowski, to "perform concerts of great music within the means of everyone." Today, under current music director Leon Botstein (who assumed directorship during the 1992-93 season), that mission has broadened into an effort to revitalize the concertgoing experience as a way of reestablishing it as a vibrant force in contemporary culture. The Bard-Vassar Concerts include several performances a year of superlative chamber music featuring works of contemporary composers together with classics of the chamber repertoire.

Leon Botstein, music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra (ASO), conducts the orchestra's subscription season at Avery Fisher Hall as part of Lincoln Center Presents Great Performers, as well as seasons in New York and the Hudson Valley with the American Symphony Chamber Orchestra, and Classics Declassified, an educational series for adult listeners at Miller Theater. In 1994 he took the ASO to Japan and Korea on a tour sponsored by Toshiba and in 1998 he led the ASO on a tour to Brazil to inaugurate a new concert hall in São Paulo. In January of 2000 at Avery Fisher Hall, he recorded a live performance for Telarc of Richard Strauss's opera Die Liebe der Danae with soprano Lauren Flanigan and the ASO. His other recordings with the ASO include Brahms's First Serenade (Vanguard) and Franz Schubert: Orchestrated, and orchestrations of Schubert's works by Joachim, Mottl, and Webern (Koch). He also conducts the ASO in the Harp Concertino of Dohnányi for a recording forthcoming from Arabesque. Botstein is the founder and coartistic director of the Bard Music Festival. Each year this internationally acclaimed festival explores the musical world of a single composer, reviving forgotten masterpieces and rediscovering works in context. The 2002 festival will explore the world of Mahler. Every autumn the Bard Music Festival brings highlights from its summer programs to Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. Active as a guest conductor, Botstein has led such orchestras as the London Philharmonic, London Philharmonia, NDR-Hannover, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Bochum Symphony, Israel Sinfonietta, Düsseldorf Symphony, Jerusalem Symphony, Bern Symphony, and the Budapest Festival Orchestra. In a prestigious series of recordings, Botstein has led the London Philharmonic most recently in Max Reger's Four Böcklin Tone Poems and A Romantic Suite, Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra, and music of Karol Szymanowski. Other recordings with Telarc include symphonies of Karl Amadeus Hartmann, Dohnányi's D Minor Symphony, and Bruckner's Fifth Symphony (Schalk edition). He also has recorded a live performance of Max Bruch's oratorio Odysseus with NDR-Hannover (Koch); Mendelssohn's Paulus (Arabesque); the music of Joseph Joachim with violinist Elmar Oliviera (Carlton Classics); and a series of contemporary works by Richard Wilson, Robert Starer, Richard Wenick, and Meyer Kupferman (CRI). He studied violin with Roman Totenberg and conducting with James Yannatos, Richard Wernick, and Harold Farberman. Since 1975 he has been the president of Bard College, where he is also Leon Levy Professor in the Arts and Humanities. He is a prominent writer on music and history, and in 1996 received Harvard's prestigious Centennial Medal for his scholarly work. Botstein has published extensively on music and culture for numerous collections and journals. He is the editor of The Musical Quarterly and a contributor to the second edition of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. His edited volume, The Compleat Brahms, was published by Norton in 1999. He is currently working on a book on the history of listening.

Bassoonist Charles McCracken has been a member of the American Symphony Orchestra since 1978 and its principal bassoon since 1988. As one of New York City?s busiest freelancers, he has performed as principal bassoon with the Metropolitan Opera, Orpheus, New York Chamber Symphony, EOS, American Composers Orchestra, Mostly Mozart Festival, Brooklyn Philharmonic, and New Jersey Symphony. He has also performed with the New York Philharmonic, New York City Ballet, New York City Opera, Orchestra of St. Luke's, and many others. McCracken is also in demand as a chamber music artist with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and at summer music festivals, and with such artists as the Guarneri Quartet and Claude Frank. He is a founding member of Sylvan Winds, which celebrates its 25th season this year.

Bari Mort, pianist, is on the faculty of the music program at Bard College. She is a pianist who "uses her excellent musical instincts with taste and technical security," said Bernard Holland in the New York Times. He went on to comment on her "big, generous ideas . . . pure phrasing" and "intense virtuosity." She made her New York recital debut at Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall, as the winner of the Artists International Young Musicians Auditions. Mort has performed many solo recitals and chamber music concerts in the United States and is a member of the New York Chamber Ensemble. She has appeared with the International String Quartet, Da Capo Chamber Players, Musica de Camera, and the Phoenix Chamber Players, among others, and has performed at many music festivals. She has also appeared on PBS television's "Live from Lincoln Center" and on National Public Radio. She recently toured the continental United States for Columbia Artist's Community Concerts. Her recording of contemporary American music is on ERM Records and she can be heard as a chamber musician on two releases on the Albany Records label.

The Detroit News notes that "Joan Tower has earned a place among the most original and forceful voices in modern American music." Tower is one of the most highly regarded composers in the United States today. In 1998, the year of her 60th birthday, more than 20 concerts were presented in her honor throughout the country. Tower received the Delaware Symphony?s Alfred I. duPont Award for Distinguished American Composers and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, and the Guggenheim Foundation, and in 1990 was the recipient of the prestigious Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition. Tower, whose orchestral works have been commissioned and performed around the world, is currently composer in residence with the Orchestra of St. Luke?s in New York City. Recent commissions include works for percussionist Evelyn Glennie and the National Symphony Orchestra, pianist John Browning, the Emerson and Tokyo Quartets, the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, and a viola concerto for Paul Neubauer. Tower recently conducted the Anchorage Symphony and the University of Southern California orchestras. She was active as pianist with the 1973 Naumburg Award?winning ensemble, the Da Capo Chamber Players, which she founded. She was composer in residence with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and is currently coartistic director of the Yale/Norfolk Chamber Music Festival and composer in residence at the Institute at Park City in Utah. Her most recent recording is Fanfares for the Uncommon Woman (Koch International Classics), with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Marin Alsop, conductor.

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This event was last updated on 01-09-2002